Former Rolls-Royce staff bribery claims revealed

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Rolls-Royce engineImage source, Rolls-Royce

Charges against three former Rolls-Royce employees and two individuals in relation to an alleged bribery scheme have been revealed by US authorities.

The documents detail how the former staff allegedly paid kickbacks to others, including a foreign official, to win work on a new gas pipeline.

Four of the five people named have pleaded guilty to the charges.

Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce paid £671m to settle corruption cases with UK and US authorities.

The unsealed indictment claims that Petros Contoguris, founder and chief executive of a company called Gravitas, devised a scheme with former Rolls-Royce employees James Finley, Aloysius Johannes Jozef Zuurhout and Keith Barnett and an individual named Andreas Kohler who worked at a consultancy firm.

Money was allegedly paid to staff at the consultancy firm as well as to at least one foreign official but were disguised as commission payments to Gravitas, according to the documents.

'Improper advantage'

In exchange for the payments, Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc, which is a US subsidiary of the UK engineering giant, won work with Asia Gas Pipeline which is building and connecting a gas pipeline between central Asia and China.

Mr Finlay, a former senior executive in energy at Rolls-Royce, pleaded guilty on to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one count of violating the act.

Mr Barnett, a former regional director in energy at Rolls-Royce, Mr Zuurhout, previously an energy sales employee at the company and Mr Kohler each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Mr Contoguris has been charged but is believed to be outside the US and has not .

In a statement, the US authorities said: "In pleading guilty, Finley, Barnett and Zuurhout admitted that they each participated in a conspiracy - going as far back as approximately 1999 and continuing into 2013 - to engage commercial advisors who would use their commission payments from Rolls-Royce to bribe foreign officials in a number of countries to help Rolls-Royce secure an improper advantage and obtain and retain business with foreign governments and instrumentalities across the globe."

Rolls-Royce sold its energy business to Siemens for £785m in 2014.